Although it has expanded its dining area, we love Bakers' Best most for its sophisticated takeout options. Everything comes with detailed reheating directions that will fool your guests into thinking you cooked it yourself. But don't worry: The employees here won't give away your secret. They'll even come over to cater for you. 27 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA .
When Lana Barakat decided to rethink her two Beacon Hill clothing-and-gift boutiques, she envisioned one store catering to home décor and another specializing in apparel and accessories. This divide-and-conquer strategy created more room for something Boston has been sorely lacking: high-end women’s footwear. Handcrafted by European and American designers, Barakat’s collection includes everything from metallic leather boots with an offset heel to cheetah-print loafers to sneakers with a velvet knot tie—perfect for navigating the cobblestones in style as you stroll up Charles to check out what other treasures await at the December Thieves home store. 51 Charles St., Boston, MA decemberthieves.com.
Buyer Debi Greenberg scours the globe to find the in fashion for men and women alike. Her Back Bay store is known the world over for its incredible timing, with many design darlings of the fashion press finding their way onto its floors before they hit the big time. The store caters to a wide variety of ages, from street fashion on the ground floor to power suits on the second and third levels, and a mix of women's wear designers from Kiton to Imitation of Christ. There's also an extensive and cutting-edge makeup counter, Salon Mario Russo, and a top-notch restaurant. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA louisboston.com/.
We aren't ones to cry over spilt milk, as our floors can attest; our couch has more hair on it than our cat. Without a speck of judgment, the Maids clean up our act month after month, dusting baseboards, degriming showers, and all but eliminating any traces of pet (except for, of course, the pet itself). They're quick, well priced, and unobtrusive: Aside from the preternatural sparkle and neatly triangled toilet paper, you'd never know they'd been there. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
Trade your mimosas for margaritas at this brunch hot spot, which serves up creative Mexican cuisine with a Cape twist (see: the quahog rellenos and chipotle-laced lobster bisque). Dine beneath a centuries-old weeping beech tree at the Hyannis outpost, or sit back and people-watch, Paloma in hand, from the Falmouth location’s patio — either way, you’ll find a fun atmosphere that makes every Sunday feel like a party. Multiple locations. anejo.cc.
This saucy bed-and-breakfast brings a splash of urban charm to the outermost Cape. Rooms are painted bright colors—no staid New England décor here. The food stands out, too: At breakfast, dig into treats like caramelized-onion-and-shiitake clafoutis; by night, mingle with eclectic guests over gratis wine and snacks. 210 Bradford St., Provincetown, MA 02633, rouxprovincetown.com.
On the quieter (i.e., not downtown Gloucester) side of Cape Ann, this erstwhile grange building is home to gourmet sandwiches, salads, a tiny seating area (great for local gossip) and a miniscule garden that will make you forget about the beach entirely. 457 Washington St., Gloucester, MA .
Each summer, city dwellers of all stripes—sunbathing nonnas, bronzed Adonises, giddy teens—flock to this urban oasis, making it one of the top people-watching spots in town. Not to mention one of the best bargains: A season pass costs a mere $20. In other words, a whole lot less than a trip to the Cape. 475 Commercial St., Boston, MA 02109, boston.gov/community-centers.
Sipping wine on a blanket by the cranberry bogs is so much more relaxing than sitting in traffic on the Bourne Bridge, isn’t it? With three restaurants, easy access to two golf courses, and a spa, the South Shore’s version of a turreted French manor is a welcome respite before the Cape Cod fray. plymouth.mirbeau.com.
Hopple Popple founder Linda Matzkin and her daughter Abby Matzkin Gordon have the experience, eye for design, and romantic natures—not to mention respect for spending limits—to fashion truly dreamy weddings, be they barefoot-on-the-Cape or candlelight-at-the-Ritz affairs. 284 California St., Newton, MA 2158, hopplepopple.com.
Not every day on the Cape can be sunny and 72 degrees (shocking, we know). When the weather's lousy, head to this multipurpose Mashpee complex, which opened this past winter. There's bowling, a variety of brick-oven pizzas, and a huge selection of New England brews. If the clouds part, hit the outdoor bar for bocce and live music. 9 Greene St., Mashpee, MA lanesbowlandbistro.com.
Folks who come to this beloved local watering hole enjoy its outdoor patio and live music on weekends, and get an added bonus: They can walk into the adjoining restaurant, 65 Main, and pair the town's best burger with, say, a pint from Cape Ann Brewing Company. 65 Main St., Gloucester, MA dogbarcapeann.com.
Some might scoff that Matt Murphy's perennially wins this award because, well, there aren't exactly Irish restaurants on every corner of this largely Irish town. That probably just means they haven't tasted the sausage, beans, and mashed potatoes with a hint of anise. Or sipped a perfect pint of Guinness while devouring fish and chips wrapped in the morning paper and accompanied by chunky, homemade ketchup. This Brookline Village hideaway is still an unadorned pub experience: good people (Jason Waddleton is one of the friendliest waiters in the Boston area), live seisiuns, or sessions of traditional Irish music, and food that's proud to call itself—dare we call it—Irish cuisine. 14 Harvard St., Brookline Village, MA mattmurphyspub.com/.
A top-notch brunch spot—on a tarmac? It's long been a reality in Cape Cod, where chef Brian Erskine turns out fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes and hearty red-flannel hash from a kitchen at the Chatham Municipal Airport. Summer weekends find the place jam-packed, but you can pass the wait time on the second-floor deck watching the biplanes coming and going. 240 George Ryder Rd., Chatham, MA 2633, hangarbcapecod.com.